Tangled Branches: Satiated
riveting tales of how we sustain ourselves
Thursday, May 26, 2005
Yesterday, I cooked for both lunch and dinner - a rarity.
Lunch was designed to use up leftover roast chicken, and not to contain garlic. I decided on creamed chicken over toast. Cut up the leftover chicken, removed the skin and diced it finely. I made cracklings out of the skin, and set those aside. There wasn't much fat left in the skin, so I combined what rendered out with the fat I had skimmed off the pan juices when I roasted the chicken on Monday night. In the fat, I sauteed some chopped onion, then removed the onion from the pan. This left very little fat in the pan, so I added about a tablespoon of butter and made a roux with a tablespoon of flour. Gradually added a cup of milk, stirring it until smooth and thickened. Added the cut up chicken, the sauteed onion, some frozen peas and some chopped piquillo peppers. Seasoned with salt and pepper, and cooked it until the chicken was heated through. I served it over thickly sliced buttered toast, garnished with the cracklings.
Dinner was tamale hash. You shouldn't get the idea that I cook this every week, although it seems that every time I start blogging about cooking, I make tamale hash. Yesterday's version contained Trader Joe's Green Chile and Cheese Tamales, Trader Joe's Frozen Organic Sweet Corn, Niman Ranch bacon (from Trader Joe's), and Trader Joe's Raw Milk Cheddar cheese. It had a few non-Trader Joe's items: onions from Wegman's, eggs from Smith Meadows and green salsa from Desert Pepper. We hadn't had the salsa before, but we really liked it. Not too hot, but not wimpy either.
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Last night was pizza at Emilio's in Sterling. We always order the same thing - the pizza named "Julian". It's a thin crust with chopped tomatoes, red onion, crumbled sausage, pepperoni, and just a bit of fresh mozzarella. If you like the heavier, tomato-sauced, cheese-covered pizzas (and we like those too), this may not appeal to you. Looking at the food on others' tables, we think Emilio's offers a heftier pizza too, but we've only once ventured away from our usual order and that was similar to what we ordinarily get. This is one of our 2 regular pizza hangouts - we alternate between them week to week.
And it goes without saying that the leftovers are the world's finest breakfast.
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Well, let's see if we can't get the food blog restarted. How about last night's dinner? We had roast chicken, mashed potatoes, and mixed beans and carrots.
The 3 lb. spring chicken came from Polyface Farms at the Arlington Farmers' Market last Saturday. I like the ideas of Polyface Farms, but I'm not prepared to say this is the best chicken I've ever eaten. It's good, and I'll continue to buy it, but the best? I rubbed it with a mixture of salt, pepper, ancho chile (tiny amount), and dried thyme, and roasted it in a hot oven (425>400 F) for about 65 minutes in all, using an idea from Jacques Pepin in Julia & Jacques Cooking at Home. He claims to roast chickens directly in the pan - no rack - on their sides. So I used a cast-iron skillet with a piece of oiled parchment in the bottom to prevent sticking. It didn't stick, but I tore the skin on the back of the chicken in turning it from side to side. I made a pan sauce by deglazing the skillet with some Sauvignon Blanc, which we were having with the meal, and adding some chopped garlic chives.
Mashed potatoes were made with russet potatoes, boiled in salted water with a small onion stuck with a clove. Ordinarily I would add a bay leaf to the water too, but I happen not to have any on hand. Drained the potatoes, discarded the onion and clove, and mashed them with butter and milk.
Veggies were chosen by Trader Joe's. I noticed a package of mixed wax beans, green beans, and carrots last time I was there, and decided to try it. I simmered them in a small amount of water in a covered skillet until tender, then drained them and added butter, salt, pepper, a tiny tiny pinch of sugar, and some chopped garlic chives.
Everything turned out satisfactorily, and we dined well.
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
Last night's dinner was Chicken Vindaloo, made according to Maya Kaimal MacMillan's recipe in Curried Favors. This is a very good cookbook, and I rarely tinker with the recipes, but I added a bit of ancho chile (I like the flavor and color), and substituted tomato paste for the tomatoes, cider vinegar for the white vinegar, and whole dried Thai chiles for the fresh green chiles. The publisher has generously provided excerpts from the book in Adobe Acrobat format. Try before you buy! One of the recipes excerpted from the book is Chicken Fry, another one we like a lot.
I served the vindaloo with leftover cucumber raita from Saturday's dinner, Cabin Foods Parathas, and Deep Foods Patra. Wow, an Indian dinner, and I only cooked one dish.